Huawei is changing its fixed broadband access strategy in North America. Huawei dominates market share in all major regions, except North America. Long accustomed to dealing with large operators like China Telecom and British Telecom, Huawei initially set its sights on large US operators. But with little success after 10 years, Huawei will now consider all opportunities, big and small.
Recent conversations reveal a humbled company still determined to be in North America for the long haul. In addition to smaller telcos, Huawei is launching new products for the US MSO market, and it shipped FTTx EPON equipment to a cable customer in the US for the first time in 3Q11. Huawei still has many challenges ahead, including political obstacles. It may succeed with smaller carriers and MSOs, but Huawei will need to show compelling value over vendors like Adtran, Calix, and Alcatel-Lucent.
Products showcased or highlighted at the FTTH North American Council show in Orlando in September 2011 ranged across DSL, PON, outside plant management, and DOCSIS provisioning over EPON (DPoE) for MSOs.
Huawei’s product strategy for North America will be the same as its global strategy. The intention is to offer a broader range of products, but still centered around its flagship product, the MA 5600T. This is a multiservice access platform (MSAP) which supports EPON, GPON, Active Ethernet P2P, different flavors of DSL, and now DOCSIS EPON. Huawei’s MSAP-centric strategy is smart, as many carriers and certainly even tier-2/3 operators here in the US are hedging their bets when it comes to technology.
Local US vendors Calix, Adtran, and Zhone are all seeing success with their MSAPs that support various combinations of DSL, GPON, and Active Ethernet P2P. This flexibility allows customers to, for instance, migrate from DSL to GPON to Active Ethernet P2P as bandwidth demands increase, or serve a variety of customers from the same platform. For more details on Huawei’s product and market strategy, please see Huawei: King of the Hill in Fixed Access.
Huawei has also custom-built equipment for potential US customers. Huawei has shipped small volumes of a sealed DSLAM product called the MA 5662. Once generally available, the MA 5662 will be Huawei’s first DSLAM in North America with vectoring capability. Tier-2/3 customers in the US have expressed interest in vectoring and many are using bonding already. Huawei has also shipped a small number of the MA 5603U. This product supports 48 ports of Active Ethernet P2P, demand for which has spiked in the US, especially among stimulus money recipients. Among FTTx products, Huawei will be offering:
- its newly launched HG 8240 GPON ONT, which can be deployed indoors
- 10G GPON equipment, which has been trialed by Verizon, and
- its iODN product, which identifies and manages fiber connections and splitters in the outside plant remotely.